US-based Institute of Scrap Recycling (ISRI) has adopted a policy that favours separating recyclables from waste prior to collection to improve the quantity and quality of materials collected.
At its summer board of directors meeting, ISRI produced the policy that favours source separation over commingled or one-bin collection as it argued that sorting before collection ensures that recyclable materials, particularly paper, are not unnecessarily contaminated and degraded.
ISRI president Robin Wiener said: “One-bin collection jeopardises the quality of recyclables by mixing them with liquids, food, chemicals and other waste thereby lowering, and in many cases all-together destroying their value.
“Materials that are all together destroyed will be diverted to landfills or incinerators lowering recycling rates and damaging the environment. Simply put, one-bin collection is not good for recycling.”
The new policy statement from ISRI reads: “ISRI supports the collection and sortation of recyclable materials in a manner that optimises the value and utilisation of the material as specification grade commodities to be used as a feedstock to manufacture new products.
“Since the quality of the recyclables as specification grade commodities is essential, ISRI opposes the commingling of recyclables with solid waste or mixed waste processing in one-bin system where all solid waste and recyclables are placed together with no separation prior to recycling.”